six: friend

i don’t even know where to start with this one. except the word’s been prickling behind my eyes all day, every time i think about it. because of course, i can’t help but think about you, pocketbrit, as my best one of these…and also about how this word in no way does  justice to what you mean to me.

i have always been someone who was friendly with lots of people. i have loads of people who are my ‘friends’ in some way, but very very few people who i feel truly know me. and maybe that’s the point, that friends are those people with whom you share some things, and that there is another name for those people with whom you share nearly everything. maybe friend does not capture that.

but i guess i want to talk about the people in that second nebulous, unnameable group. because it is those kind of relationships, with intimate emotional connections, with trust and love and tears and heartache and communication and hard work, that i want close. they are who i want nearby for the good and the rotten, the silly and the traumatic, the short-term and the fifty years (lest i still be kicking in my 90s) hence.

the woman with whom i share this blog is someone who knows more of me than i’ve ever shared before with a ‘friend’. she has seen me…so so low. like, not-wanting-to-be-here-anymore low. she knows things that nearly no one else does. is present for me in a way i have very rarely experienced, for which i am endlessly grateful. i have never cried so much in the presence of anyone, other than my therapist and wife (and possibly my mother, when i was an infant and had no other way to communicate) than i have with her. tears just come out, so easily. at this point, it’s a bit of a joke between us…and i know it’s coz given how i am now, it’s so hard for her to believe that for the years and years and years before her, i just held it all in. bit my lip and sealed it all up until i could maybe let out a few frustrated, angry tears behind closed doors, in solitude, every couple of months. i just didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t cry. my spontaneous teariness/weepiness/general messiness is all she’s ever known from me, so it’s not her fault that she doesn’t understand. and i can never find the words to tell her how much it means to me, how being able to feel, and share how i feel, is like a gift that i had no idea was possible for me. and giving it, is also one of the biggest gifts to myself…

the most completely bizarre thing about us is that we have never, ever met in person. i know, i can’t believe it either. it’s so so weird and wrong. and, to date, we have also never, ever video-called each other. never actually seen our responses to the other’s words. never actually interacted, in the way two people do in each other’s presence, with all five of our senses. and yet…and yet, though i look forward to enriching our experience of each other by meeting face to face…what i’ve realized today is that i don’t even need it. i don’t actually need it to be any different from how it is – it is just right, as is, this very moment.

sweetest pocketbrit is a part of my daily existence, she is a part of my heart, she is more real and present for me than than people i have known for years. she is one of the people i want closest. she is so so silly (in her britishness, for certain, but in other ways too), so wonderful, sensitive, gentle and sweet. she is smart and kind and lovely. she feels like one of the three loves of my life.

(writing that made the words go so so squiggly for a few minutes)

(like quite a few minutes, as in, i’m going to be horrendously late posting this as a result)

so this post, dear one, is one of the easiest yet one of the hardest ones to write. because our word today was friend…but what we have here? is beyond what i could have hoped for, in any way deserve, and something for which i will forever and ever have gratitude. i love you, pocketbrit, and wouldn’t be without you.

Purple Heart on Google Android 9.0


The first thing that came into my head this morning when I read the word for today was the ridiculous toy story song, you’ve got a friend in me. And I can’t remember if there’s actually any more lyrics to it (there must be, surely?!) but I just had that same annoying sentence going round and round in my head to it’s tune. So that put an end to my lie in (you try sleeping with that annoying tune), which was kind of infuriating given I didn’t get to sleep until 3am and it was finally my chance to sleep in. So, having now put that tune in your head (you’re welcome), I’ll carry on.

So I’m just not really the kind of person to have lots of friends, more like just a couple of very good ones. And I’ve got 3 of those.

A friend I went to school with, whose family I loved, and with whom I was inseparable. Who’s exceptionally smart, bright, endearing, charming, kind, focused, beautiful and loving. She’s messy, wellies and dirty hands, hair tied up. She’s my sister, for all intensive purposes. And yet I feel too scared to tell her about my past, to which I know she will have caring for, as I know how she personally relates. I will one day…every time I see her I feel one step closer to doing so, but just not yet. 

A friend I met at University and then lived with. Funny, social, self-deprecating, a full face of makeup and dressed up. My opposite in that sense. Caring, and joking, and so bloody funny. The same sense of humour, at our own expenses. Trustworthy, and trusted, yet unable to personally relate and uncomfortable with the tougher stuff.

My dearest pc. Met online, through a forum. Older, half a world away, and yet the strongest attraction to her. A huge pull to get to know her, and her me. To have her in my life. I’ve saved the best to last here… She’s funny, and kind, and beautiful, and loving, and generous. So smart, perceptive, wonderful. I’m so glad I private messaged her one day, because I needed to talk to her more, she was the person I needed to get to know. And oh my, we got to know each other. And sometimes it’s so incredibly hard. Like she reminded me just this week; we have the loops to each other’s hooks. It’s hard, it gets messy, and yet we’re in it for the long haul. Daily texts, long phone calls where 2 hours can go by so quick. Photos and videos. She is a constant grounding presence in my life, and she is safety to me. She will listen, provide smart insights, just be with you quietly. When you’re sad or scared, or just needing to not be alone, she’s got you. And she knows, she has similar wounds that break my heart for the sweet little one she was. She gets it. And she is healing to me. Her presence and her words, both. Her letting me in and letting me be there.

So, despite it not being the conventional way to meet, and despite it being under the worst circumstances, I wouldn’t give up having pc in my life for anything. She is so very real, and honest, and the most beautiful presence in my life. In fact, she’s saved my life. So this post is for you, dear friend. I wouldn’t be without you. You pull me out from the worst depths, stay with me, and love me no matter what. I love you such a massive amount, more than you even know, and this post, though probably any post, just doesn’t do justice to it.

You’ve got a friend in me, okay? And I know just how great a friend I have in you 💜💜 💜


Arms wrapped around knees that are drawn tight into chest. A body made as small as humanly possible, in the corner of a room, a sofa, a bed. A steady stream of tears, sobs, noises escaping however hard you try not to. Not the angry, screeching wail of a toddler, but the desolate, desperate, unbelievably lonely sort-of wail of a person trying to stay as small and quiet as possible.

(24hrs whilst at work and then talking and on the phone to pc is not enough time to do a good drawing. So sorry friends, but it’s the best I had time for today)

five: wail

i don’t know what i think about this word. except it makes me feel so, so sad.

i know i likely wailed as a baby, and maybe as a very little girl, before i learned it wasn’t safe. but i’m not sure i have ever allowed myself to wail, as an adult. i feel like i haven’t. but just writing this word makes me feel unsettled, makes me hear it in my mind, a high-pitched, soulful moan, and somehow i think that wailing must be the purest expression of grief.

so it’s surprising that i haven’t done it in the past three years, really.  i’ve howled on rare occasion, scared myself doing it, actually. i’ve keened. i’ve sobbed and wept and choked and bawled and cried in all means of gut-wrenching ways, because one of the things i’ve learned? is that there are oceans of grief in me.

but i feel like wailing is uncharted territory…except as i wrote that, i am realizing that no, that’s not true.

i do remember wailing, i don’t think it was that long ago, maybe this summer? i don’t know what exactly precipitated it, but i was alone, my family was away i think (?) and i was in my bed, and the sounds that were coming out of me…i didn’t even know i could make. they were wobbly sorts of siren sounds, long and mournful oooooohhs that happened with every exhale, and they came somehow from my chest and my heart and stomach and forehead and diaphragm all at the same time… and yeah, i remember how the tears seemed to pour out from everywhere, like constant torrential streams down my face and into my ears and pooling above my collarbones. and it didn’t stop for ages, for almost an hour, i think. and when it did finally wind down, from those original prolonged, shaky sounds to whispery, shuddery ones, i switched out my sopping pillow and closed my eyes, and slept dreamlessly for a few hours. and i felt clean, somehow, in the morning, and empty, and my eyes were slits but it was all clearer than before the wailing.

it’s so weird, that only as i started writing this post did i recall that experience, but also, that it just occurred to me that bob marley’s band was called the wailers.

(now that would’ve been a less sad, more interesting post. but it’s late, and i think that’s enough from me for now. except here’s one of my favourite versions of one of my favourite songs that bob and his wailers sang…)


I would really like a remedy for all of this shit. For the not knowing what to do, for the hurt, for the sad, for the fear, for the shame, for the anger, for the self loathing. I want a fix, because i’m so done with every single day being full of this crap.

I would also really like a remedy for a world where this stuff happens, and then gets silenced. Where people are not believed, or told that the perpetrator was just a teenager, and that stuff happens, it’s ‘normal’, that to tell people would be to ruin his career or life, or that “yes, it happened, I believe you, but move on, the past is the past, and it was no big deal”. Because a world full of that is a fucking crap one.

four: remedy

i have a confession to make: i am a big adele fan. and although there is nothing wrong with that, i have this sort of shameful feeling about it, because she is incredibly mainstream (my taste tends to be eclectic and more folk-y/indie/grassroots-y) and because i have learned that she is one of those polarizing artists: you hate her, or you love her, no in between.

although there are plenty of things to love that are about her (i find her incredibly endearing, silly, and personable, not to mention that voice, jesus), i think a part of it is the timing of her last album, which came out just before the last time i saw my parents in december 2015…which was just before i began remembering the incest. i can recall, very distinctly, sitting at the table in my parents’ kitchen one evening, showing my mom the video of ‘when were young’…and having her not get it. i mean, not only was she not transported, as i was, by that voice and those lyrics, but she also didn’t seem to feel anything, or hear anything special in the song, when i clearly did.

the whole experience was reminiscent of how it always felt when i would try to include my mom in my life, among the things that were important to me (my poetry, my secrets, my fears, my politics, my hopes), in that it often fell flat. she rarely got it, and i was often left with the feeling of being missed, of not being understood or seen. i mean, in this case, it wasn’t a huge deal, it was just a song, it wasn’t like i wrote it and wanted or needed her approval, but it just sticks in my mind – another time i felt alone in an experience that i tried to share with her.

so…the feelings i have about that album are complicated, and imbued with the terror and love and sadness and fear and shame and comfort that darkened most of 2016 for me. and the very, very first thing i thought when i saw today’s word was of the following lyrics from adele’s song, remedy:

when the pain cuts you deep/when the night keeps you from sleeping/just look and you will see/that i will be your remedy…

except i don’t exactly think of myself as a remedy, as much as i imagine that my presence is one, just as pocketbrit’s presence is to and for me. our friendship, our sharing space on this earth, our daily talking, the love we have for each other, is incredibly healing. over these past years, she has been a remedy for so many of the things that have hurt me and kept me up in the night: my loneliness. my shame. my fear. my conviction that i am inherently wrong and bad and faulty. my solitude. my shame. my shame. my shame.

and the fact that her presence in my life is an antidote to those things that sting and hurt and ache does not waver, not even with disagreements, or misunderstandings, or strife between us. because, as the song says (and i paraphrase), our love, it is the truth…and i will always love you. 

and i really, really will, and do.  Purple Heart on Samsung Experience 9.5